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The Rural Maine Reporting Project is made possible through the generous support of the Betterment Fund.

Commission to study short-term rentals in unorganized territory amid complaints from residents

This Dec. 2012 photo shows a rustic cabin in the snow near Greenville, Maine.
Lynn Dombek
AP file
This Dec. 2012 photo shows a rustic cabin in the snow near Greenville, Maine.

The Land Use Planning Commission stopped short of issuing a moratorium on short-term rentals in unorganized territories on Wednesday, but said the proliferation of Airbnb and Vrbo listings — numbering more than 500 — is resulting in complaints from residents in those areas. But currently recourse is difficult because little is known about the rental owners.

Commission Executive Director Stacie Beyer says she wants to hold public meetings during the summer to get feedback from residents and information from rental owners.

"Our plan is to develop a work plan for how to proceed with research and seeking input from the community," Beyer said.

The commission is considering requiring that short-term rental owners provide notice to the towns and meet minimum performance standards when they have guests.

Among residents' complaints is the strain on territory wastewater systems that are designed based on the number of bedrooms a property has, but can be overwhelmed when short-term rental occupancy exceeds capacity limits. Parking and noise issues have also been reported.